6/28/13

HUNGRY HORSE DAM under construction


Looking for an image for this weeks Sepia Saturday had me thinking I’d have nothing. I don’t have any vintage photos of caves unless I drag out some old Viewmaster slides of Carlsbad Caverns. That was tempting until I remembered this photo. Now is the perfect time to post this vintage snapshot.


Click on image to see it larger.

Looks like nothing more than an old car on a snowy mountain road, but then the title had me searching for something more.


This image shows the Hungry Horse Dam under construction in Montana. I'm guessing it was a Christmas card for the workers to send back home.


Click on image to see it larger.
Hungry Horse Dam is an arch dam on the South Fork Flathead River in the Rocky Mountains of the U.S. state of Montana. It is located in Flathead National Forest, in Flathead County, about 15 miles (24 km) south of the west entrance to Glacier National Park, 9 miles (14 km) southeast of Columbia Falls, and 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Kalispell. The Hungry Horse project, dam, and powerplant are operated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation.

At 564 feet (172 m) in height, the dam was the third largest dam, and second highest concrete dam, in the world at the time of its completion in 1953, with a volume of 3,100,000 cubic yards (2,400,000 m3). The dam's spillway is the highest morning glory structure in the world. The spillway is controlled by a 64-by-12-foot (20 by 3.7 m) ring gate.
Construction of Hungry Horse Dam was authorized by the Act of June 5, 1944 (58 Stat. 270, Public Law 78-329). Construction began in April 1948 and was completed on July 16, 1953. The purpose of the Hungry Horse Project, authorized by law, are irrigation, flood control, navigation, streamflow regulation, hydroelectric generation, and other beneficial uses such as recreation. However, no irrigation facilities were built and the project has no irrigation obligations. Hydroelectric power generation is the primary purpose of the dam today. Flood control is the dam's other main purpose. The dam, reservoir, and surrounding area are used for recreation. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)

Click on image to see it larger.

So how did the place get the name Hungry Horse?
The severe 1900-01 winter left two freight horses lost and starved in the rugged Flathead River wilderness. Found a month later, their owners nursed them back to health. "Hungry Horse" became the name of a nearby mountain and creek and, later, this Reclamation project.
The first permanent settlers entered the Flathead Valley in 1860. As the Flathead Valley grew in the new century, so did the belief that a new dam could reduce flooding and harness the river's force to produce electricity. Montana citizens worked for 30 years toward bringing this belief to life. Federal agencies surveyed lands and began efforts toward Congressional approval to build a large water project. (SOURCE: US Bureau of Reclamation)
To read more about the history of the area click here.

And this is what the dam looks like today.

17 comments:

  1. Intriguing card and a good one for this week's theme. It must have been a tough winter!

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    1. I'm guessing it was a tough life. Probably away from family, though family might have lived "near by" in some sort of town. The elements had to be a constant battle.

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  2. Dam good post. I like the name Hungry Horse and it's interesting to read the reason for it.

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  3. The great thing is that when you add a postcard to a blog and mix in some excellent detective work and description, you come up with a very satisfying treat.

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  4. I'm fascinated by pictures of the different geography before and after a dam is built.

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  5. So interesting!! I'm glad you shared this.

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  6. Oh gee whiz, I can't believe after our last winter that hung on and on, that I really enjoyed this. Great post.

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  7. I would hate to have to drive on that snowy road next to the drop off. I hope the dam brought them all they thought it would.

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  8. The Hungry Horse name is interesting. I'm glad the hungry horses were nursed back to health.

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  9. A fascinating old card, and an impressive dam and location today !

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  10. Some place names - such as "Hungry Horse" - just have to be checked out! I pass a turnoff every summer, when I'm going on vacation to Lake Tahoe, called "Tragedy Springs". I used to wonder whatever happened there & finally went online to check it out. Now I know. Good post about the dam.

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  11. A fine bit of history that I'd have never known if I had not checked this page. Thanks!

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  12. Learned something about spillways from this. Very interesting reading. All of the energy and vision and determination it must has taken to get these projects completed. And teamwork!

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    1. These days this wouldn't get built unless it was given over entirely to a private corporation to make money. And then some congressperson would want some serious kickbacks.

      Infrastructure is now a four letter word in the US. I do have a four letter word I'd like to say to members of congress blocking infrastructure, but this is a non-political keeping my mouth zipped site.

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  13. Very interesting post. Reminds me of the pictures of building the Shasta Dam near Redding California. I also remember riding in the car, winding through the mountain curves to get over the summit. I would look up at the bridge construction and intone to my parents that I would NEVER go over a bridge that high above the river. Thanks for an interesting trip through the Hungry Horse area of Montana.

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  14. Interesting story!!
    I wouldn't swear by it,
    but I believe this location was used
    in some movies...
    :D~
    HUGZ

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  15. A great post and an interesting story of how the dam got its name.

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